This week on Herding Code, the boys talk with Sara Chipps about Girl Develop IT, a comfortable place where women can learn at their own pace and not be afraid to ask "stupid questions." Listen in as Sara talks about repairing the wide gender gap in development through her series of classes which help women gain knowledge and get involved in software development.

Note: Since we recorded this, Sara was named one of the Top 15 Developer/Hacker Women to Follow on Twitter by Mashable. Congrats!

  • Sara kicks off the show by introducing us to Girl Develop IT and its target audience – female entrepreneurs who needs to higher and work with developers and professional women who wish to switch careers and become coders.
  • Kevin asks the focus on building projects/products.  Chipps speaks to the series’ curriculum – HTML/CSS, JavaScript, design patterns, data structures and Ruby on Rails.
  • Jon asks why Ruby and Rails over ASP.NET MVC and C#?  Good question since Sara is an ASP.NET and C# developer after all.
  • The guys and gal talk about the early success of the program.
  • Kevin shares that most of the Herding Code hosts are fathers of daughters and asks a twitter question about providing classes and turning girls to coding. Sara expresses the overarching strategy of Girl Develop IT which is to develop rock star programmers which girls can look up to.
  • This sparks a conversation about media not telling the real story about developers. Are they any sexy cool female (or male) coders on TV? Is there any way to be a normal girl and a coder?
  • Jon asks about dereferencing a pointer in high school.
  • Scott K asks about the differences in teaching women compared to men?  Do the gender have different learning styles?  Sara talks about getting the women in the group feeling comfortable to answer questions. 
  • The group talks about conferences and open source projects and the percentages of women there within. 
  • Sara talks about extending the Girl Develop IT course materials to other chapters.
  • Jon asks why this sort of thing (teaching focused on women) isn’t already being done. Sara speaks to what’s happening in the community and the typical women’s group.
  • The guys ask “if you can’t get to Girl Develop IT, how can women get involved and learn?” How about online learning?
  • The cast considers pretending to be women on Stackoverflow?
  • Scott K asks what’s next for the Girl Develop IT? Will the course begin to venture outside of the web space? Lisp development for women perhaps?
  • Chipps offers the bundl.it elevator pitch, answers a Twitter question about Mono and the conversation quickly digresses to challenges in international domain registration.
  • Sara shares her excitement about last year’s Concept Camp and announces this year’s return.  Be on the lookout for CONCEPT CAMP 2010: A DEV ODYSSEY, puns and steak sponsorship!
  • Sara talks about the success of the Devs for Wendy fundraiser held of software developer and loving mom, Wendy Friedlander.
  • The show wraps with the boys asking Sara for advice on raising daughters around computers and software and code.  And then Chipps pimps the October release of Computer Engineer Barbie.

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            Show notes compiled by Ben Griswold. Thanks!

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            Herding Code 90: Sara Chipps on GirlDevelopIT and Girls Developing Software

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